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Pineapple

Contributed by: Jennifer A. Wickes

History / Geography

There is evidence to support that pineapples were consumed in pre- Inca times, thus indicating that pineapples are native to Central and South America.

In 1535, pineapples were brought to Spain by way of the Spanish explorers that went to America. By the 17th century, pineapples were considered to be a food of the aristocrats of the general French public. Even Louis XIV had hothouses producing pineapples!

Puerto Rico began shipping pineapples to the United States in 1860 to begin growing them in Florida. This led to pineapples being canned in the 1880's.

By 1939, a machine called a ginaca could process 50 pineapples a day for canning purposes.

Today, Hawaii is the world's top producers of this delectable fruit!

Varieties

  • Cayenne: longer, more cylindrical with a golden skin. It has sharp leaves sprouting from a single location.

  • Red Spanish: more compact with reddish brown skin. The leaves sprout from a variety of places in the actual fruit.

  • Sugar Loaf: this is a green variety that is extremely rare in the United States.

Season

March through July.

How to Select

There should be no sign of greening. If the pineapple shows signs of greening, do not buy this one. The pineapple must be picked ripe or the starches will not convert to sugar. The leaves should be crisp and green with no yellow or brown spots. The skin of the pineapple should give slightly to pressure, though soft or dark spots are indications of over-ripening. The average sized pineapple weighs 2-5 pounds.

Storage

Using a plastic wrap, store the pineapple in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Nutritional Qualities

Pineapple contains fair amounts of Vitamins A and C.

Trivia

Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality.

Wine Pairings

Zinfandel.

Equivalencies

1 medium pineapple = 3 lbs. = 2 1/2 - 3 cups cubed

Preparation

  • Removing Skin: Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Stand the pineapple upright and slice the skin off using a knife. Dig out any eyes left in the flesh with the tip of a vegetable peeler.

  • Coring: Remove the skin, then using a small circular cutter, stamp out the core.

Recipes

Molokai Pie

Recipe By: TJ Hill - Appetites Catered

  • 1 1/4 cups crushed pineapple -- in syrup
  • 3 ounces lemon flavored gelatin
  • 1-cup sugar
  • 1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice -- strained
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 pie shell -- 9" graham cracker

Bring pineapple to a boil in saucepan. Add Jell-o, stir until dissolved. Mix in sugar and lemon juice. Cool until almost stiff. Fold into whipped cream and pour into graham cracker pie shell. Chill about 1 hour.

Yields: 8 servings

Pineapple Pilaf

Recipe By: The Rice Council

  • 1-tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple tidbits -- drained

Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, walnuts, raisins, salt and ginger; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add rice and pineapple; stir and heat thoroughly.

Yields: 6 servings

Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Recipe By: The National Broiler Council

  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro -- chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root -- minced
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt -- divided
  • 1 cup tomato -- diced, seeded, chopped roma
  • 3/4 cup pineapple -- diced
  • 1/4 cup green onion -- sliced
  • 1 4 oz. can green chili -- drained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Make pineapple salsa by mixing together in small bowl cilantro, ginger, 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, tomato, pineapple, onion, chiles and lemon juice; set aside.

In a frying pan, place butter and melt over medium heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté, turning about 6 minutes, or until light brown on all sides. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook about 5 minutes or until fork can be inserted in chicken with ease. Arrange chicken on serving platter and spoon pineapple salsa over chicken. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Yields: 6 servings

This article was originally published at Suite 101.

Jennifer Wickes is the editor at "Cooking With The Seasons". This site was voted to be one of the Top 100 Culinary Sites on the Internet! To visit her site, go to:
http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/cooking_with_the_seasons

Or visit her at Suite 101's Food and Drink Community:
http://www.suite101.com/foodcenter/

Or contact her directly at: culinaryjen@yahoo.com

Copyright 2002


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